Human Rights Campaign says Bloomberg should apologize for comments about transgender people

Human Rights Campaign says Bloomberg should apologize for comments about transgender people
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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is calling on Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg to apologize over resurfaced comments he’s made that the civil rights organization said are transphobic. 

“Words matter and Mayor Bloomberg should apologize for using language that demoralizes and dehumanizes members of our community,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. 

The HRC’s call for Bloomberg to apologize follows videos that have resurfaced of the billionaire former New York City mayor making comments about transgender people.

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Bloomberg describes transgender people as “he, she, or it” and “some guy in a dress” who enters girls' locker rooms in a video posted on Youtube from a forum at the Bermuda Business Development Agency last March. The video was first reported by BuzzFeed News on Tuesday

"If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that's not a winning formula for most people," Bloomberg said at the forum. He had not yet entered the race, but several of his primary opponents were already campaigning. 

Earlier this month, a separate video of Bloomberg speaking at Oxford in December 2016 showed the candidate also describing transgender people as “some man wearing a dress,” while explaining why he thought people in the Midwest won’t accept a push for transgender rights. 

David said that “right wing extremists have attacked transgender people, their humanity and their rights at every opportunity,” adding that at least 26 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were victims of fatal violence last year. 

“We expect all pro-equality candidates, including Mayor Bloomberg, to create policy solutions to end the epidemic of violence our community faces, not use the same talking points our opponents use to dehumanize transgender people and justify their own hateful beliefs,” David said. 

“Transgender women aren’t ‘he-she or it,’ they’re women. LGBTQ people are human and deserve to be treated with respect.” 

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An official for the Bloomberg campaign was not immediately available for comment. 

In response to the resurfaced 2019 comments, an official told BuzzFeed News that Bloomberg "understands that the transgender community has been under attack for decades and the advance of rights has not been equal.”

The person went on to note measures Bloomberg took as mayor to sign “a sweeping transgender civil rights bill into law” and said the presidential candidate is advocating for passing the Equality Act if elected.